At my Wits End

#1
Lil RB is driving us crazy. And his teacher. Let me start by saying he is not perfect. He is not an angel. I am not a parent that thinks he is, because believe me, I know he is not.

He is a great child. A smart child. Not really a "problem" as when you think of "problem child". However, he HAS been a "talkative, disruptive, doesn't follow directions" child for the past 4 months. It is at home AND worse (or maybe not, they are both non-acceptable), at school. I am so tired of it. We have tried a lot of things and none seem to work.

1) he takes his lunch during the week and if he is green all week, he get's the hot lunch pizza on Fri (so no pizza)
2) NO Wii on the weekends or ipads
3) No TV for 30 min before or after school
4) recently we have skipped a bday party because of his really bad behavior
5) Saying no to a friend for outdoor play after school (I HATE THAT)
6) sitting in your room until dinner and only reading books (give that punishment to me!!, Please!, ok, kidding aside, he hates it)
7) No going to see a movie this weekend (and that is a FAMILY punishment, one doesn't go, we all don't go, we thought that would make an impact)

NONE of this seems to impact him anymore. We had a "green" year until about 2 months ago. Now there is a yellow every week, if not two. And it is the same offense. (talking, disruptive, redirection, etc). And I am seeing the same thing at home. I tell him something and 5 min later he hasn't done it. Then I hear, "I forgot". WHATEVER. He didn't forget, he didn't want to do it.

Ugghhhh....He isn't a bad kid, just one that needs to listen more. He is just in a stage that I don't know what to do. (I was the same way his age :/, don't think much got through to me either, unfortunately). So I realize I am putting this out there. I am not a parent that brushes away this behavior, which is why I am asking for some advice. I am also not a parent that sees the worst in my child, because, frankly, he is a sweet, kind boy, that just has his own way about him, but I know that *his* rules are unacceptable at this age.

So, I need a way to get through to him, I think over the summer he will mature, but 7.5 yr old boys, who knew??? lol
 
#2
DS exhibited similar behavior, especially the "not following directions" and "forgetfulness." At first, we thought it was a maturity issue. We tried reward charts, positive reinforcement, as well as consequences for behaviors; however, they were short-term fixes. It turned out DS has ADD. We could tell him to put something away, make his bed, brush his teeth, etc., and while he'd acknowledge our request, he'd quickly forget a minute later and move onto something else. The inattention carried over into his schoolwork - careless errors, forget to turn in homework, forget to write down hw assignment.

After careful thought and consideration, we worked with his physician to find a low-dose medicine that would help his attention issues. I hate taking any kind of drugs, but after exhausting multiple avenues, we were open to consideration. It took awhile to assess, but it made a HUGE difference in his school/home lives! He's able to focus at school (high grades/quality work resulted), and better attention to responsibilities at home. It's not a "perfect" fix, as he's still a grade school kid who makes grade school decisions and "forgets" things from time to time. It has had a positive impact on his life. Not saying that your child may have ADD, or needs medication to address issues, as maturity definitely comes into play...just wanted to relate our experience.

Hope you find a solution that works for your family.
 

GoodAg

Double Platinum
#3
Sounds like you are doing all the right things at home. So what are they doing at school? (Please don't say "skipping recess." I hate it when they do that to kids.)
 

angelaN

Platinum Member
#4
Some excellent advice.

Just make sure the school is usiing positive behavioral supports as much as possible and not resorting to punishment everytime. Being told daily that they are "bad" will destroy a kid and make for a worse kid.

I resisted meds for my DD for a long while (the school was doing the wrong thing everytime and blaming her). In the end we had to put her on heavy meds to "drug" her so she wouldn't get arrested at school again.

Fast forward 5 years and she has been off meds for 3 years. Should be valadictorian (sp?), had college credits in tenth grade and is very respected at her school. Her self esteem is high and she very much loves who she is.

Meds shouldn't be a first choice but as others have mentioned they should be considered when nothing else works.
 
#5
Sign of advanced intelligence and a zest to explore the world and break boundaries IMHO. Likely some ADD though - but may not be enough for meds. (I personally prefer no meds on borderline cases - I hate seeing kids turned into robots or zombies.) You're doing an outstanding job with your home discipline approach (A+) IMHO. I'm sure Einstein's and Ben Franklin's moms had to deal with this level of natural curiosity, outside the box thinking, high energy behavior. Embrace it, don't try to squash these personality traits. Might want to find him a gifted program - possibly a private school instead of fitting the molds of the mainstreamed public schools - they're more accustomed to these traits in intelligent children. (In the meantime - meet or communicate regularly with his teachers - I think they're just finding it easier in a large class to yellow card him and move on - understandably they have a heavy workload with that many kids in a class.)
 

mommyx2

Diamond Member
#6
That is a tough age towards the end of kinder. That is a point where they are jumping in maturity (to some point).

First I would take a look at rules and adjust to an "older" child. I am NOT saying no rules, I am saying adjust giving a bit more freedom as they are getting older, gaining skills etc. ( While this seems odd, we had extremes issues with one of our kids when very young and it was suggested by a dr. My thought was they can't follow rules as it, how can this work, but it does.). Another thing is don't work on too many behaviors at once. It gets overwhelming and can get the why try attitude. Pick one or two most disruptive and work on those then add.

Chores at home, make a list with a time to be done. Tell him and then give the list and have him tell you back so you know he understand. Do not give lots of details just as much needed. (Too many words get lost)
Also the not listening, he may be so tired of listening at school, if you start right after school, he hasn't had time to decompress. I know I hate walking in the door and immediately have everyone needing something NOW.

If you do allowance, don't deduct it from allowance. Try giving each job an amount and if he does it by the time listed then he gets the " reward"

Same for school, do not "take away" things, but figure out ways for him to earn computer time each day or weekend. Once they "loose" the privelege on Monday or Tues, what incentive is there for the rest of the week? None. Also by rewarding you rely more on their behavior. I have found ( even in myself) that teachers have different tolerance levels from teacher to teacher and even day to day.

Also figure out what time of day is the talking issue is it consistent. It may be a time where he is if finishing up so quickly and nothing to do.. That is on the teacher to find more work or activities but it doesn't always happen. My son had permission to read a book he kept or word searches I sent etc. when finished. It really helped out as he could occupy himself. It could also be in transition times where it is less structured. Figuring this out can help give him strategies to not talk.

I would be careful about the reading if he doesn't like to read, it will only intensify the dislike. That is a fine line.

I also know you moved recently and this may be part of how he is handling change. Kids react differently. Also, with the move, are you spending as much time with him.. one on one. He may be using this for your attention as any attention is better. Maybe put mom and me date down or dad and me or one of each at least once a month. Having a relaxing time together, may bring something out that isn't even on your radar.
(Son and I would go out for cheese fries at least once a month and he would relax and I could learn so much more in the conversation with no questions/grilling)

Consider not taking stuff completely away. Having 15 min on a game or outside then having to quit something fun may have more impact than none at all. That also gives him some down time to unwind.

Sorry if the thoughts are disorganized.
 
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JJFrisco

Double Platinum
#7
NONE of this seems to impact him anymore. We had a "green" year until about 2 months ago. Now there is a yellow every week, if not two.
Isnt that about the same time you started moving? That can be stressful for all. Stick to your guns and drink after they go to bed :). You are doing the right thing and it will pass.
 
#8
It's the age. My boys drove me absolutely NUTS between 7-9 and 11-14. It seemed I was always in their faces and pushing them to do what needed doing. Once they realized that the only way to get me off their backs was to do what they were told, then they backed down and things settled down A LOT! The hubby says it's a guy thing. I just think they're testing their limits, and realized that Mom is the biggest, baddest, meanest witch in this house.
 

Teach

Diamond Member
#9
TDC is correct. I see this in 8th graders. He is BORED and needs intellectual stimulation. Teach him how to play chess, give him some wood pieces and glue to build something, give him scissors and used cereal boxes and have him create his own jigsaw puzzle from the front of it. Explore a more challenging curriculum alternative.
 

SkiBum

Platinum Member
#10
I am by NO MEANS an expert. I do have an elementary ed degree, though, so I guess it's kind of like "sleeping at a Holiday Inn last night..." LOL.

The thing that stood out to me in your list was that I didn't see any positive reinforcements (and this is not the same as bribes! :) ). You probably have them, but just didn't list them in your post. Kids can get really beaten down with constant negative reinforcement, and yes, they eventually cease to care.

Also, does he have jobs/tasks? From what I've seen, giving a child responsibilities that give him some self-worth and "ownership" can be beneficial.

What Teach said is great advice about activities that are more stimulating. He sounds like he is bored with what is being done at school!
 
#11
Thanks for the advice.

1) We do have positives, I didn't list them, but they are important. I am just so frustrated that at least twice a week he comes home "in trouble". Then he still acts out at home.

2) He KNOWS how to play chess already. We play. He is a super smart kiddo. ;)

3) We are ending the 1st grade and I have tried to tell him the importance of next year. No more pass/fail and smiley faces on work. It gets more serious. And this behavior is going to land him in the principal's office, rather than a yellow.

4) His CogAt (or whatever that is) scores were off the charts. They recommended we have him tested for the GT program, so we did. Haven't heard back on that yet.

5) Yeah, I would say this behavior got started (or rather worsened, a 7yo boy is never going to have perfect behavior ;) ), around mid Jan. That's when I started looking for a house, found one, bought one, put ours up, sold, moved, etc. I know it has been stressful for all, but it would be less stressful if he would just listen and do what I ask. lol

6) He loves to read, he HATES being in his room by himself and not playing. Good point though, I don't want him to think reading is the punishment, it really isn't. It's the sitting in his room, but I see that may not be a good "punishment".

7) He has chores. He complains about them. Probably most kids do. But if would just DO IT, it would be done. Then I wouldn't have to repeat myself, and then get irritated, then he gets irritated. You know? I shouldn't have to TELL him 6 times to bring down the upstairs trash the night before trash day. He has a chore chart. We need to work on that too. He is awful about doing them.

8) You are right about "what incentive does he have if he loses a privilege on Mon to work the rest of the week". I have an idea about that. I am thinking maybe a bowl with a list of things he enjoys would be a good idea. Everyday he has a good day, he gets to pick something and do it right away. Taking away does not seem to be working.

9) This behavior is starting to wear off on DD. I need to nip all this now. I am not raising entitled, diva children.

10) More "one on one" time is a great idea. We HAVE been busy lately and I know some of that has gotten "lost" along the way.

11) I love him and I HATE yelling at him and being upset with him. HATE IT. I just know he is better than this behavior and need to find a way to make him see that. I hate it when he gets upset because I am upset. He is a really sensitive kid.

12) I think Teach is right and he starts talking at school because he is BORED. He gets done fast and then just sits there. I have tried to explain that I know he is smart and he gets done quickly but others may need more instruction or more time to finish and he needs to respect that. I don't think he gets that. :(

13) I also believe he is testing my limits and boundries. But it is driving everyone mad. I don't want to squash his curious nature or fabulous personality. Which is why I want to fix this before it's to late. It makes me so sad to be upset with him.

Thanks for the help. Anything else?
 
#12
When you moved, did he have to change schools or is your new house zoned to the same school? Does he do any better when your husband gets home? I know sometimes kids react different to the parent that is gone more such as working during the day.

We moved to Frisco right before our son started kinder (he's a freshman at Wakeland now). I remember his talking etc. in school. Boredom is very likely from what you have stated. I found out in Kinder that the teacher was using my son as a "tutor" for the kids that were slower to learn because he was done with his work so early.

All I can say is this too shall pass :). He will grow and mature as time goes on. From what you have stated, I will be surprised if your GT results don't come back as gifted. Hang in there, it will get better!
 

mommyx2

Diamond Member
#13
You may have to find the tiniest things to reward at first to bait him into wanting more and bigger rewards. Find small things for rewards so he can decide he likes that better.
 

bizguy

Diamond Member
#14
Not to belabor the point but TDC and Teach are right - that's one bored kiddo at school... I seem to remember be that exact kid when I was that age....
 

Geck

Platinum Member
#15
Sign of advanced intelligence and a zest to explore the world and break boundaries IMHO. Likely some ADD though - but may not be enough for meds. (I personally prefer no meds on borderline cases - I hate seeing kids turned into robots or zombies.) You're doing an outstanding job with your home discipline approach (A+) IMHO. I'm sure Einstein's and Ben Franklin's moms had to deal with this level of natural curiosity, outside the box thinking, high energy behavior. Embrace it, don't try to squash these personality traits. Might want to find him a gifted program - possibly a private school instead of fitting the molds of the mainstreamed public schools - they're more accustomed to these traits in intelligent children. (In the meantime - meet or communicate regularly with his teachers - I think they're just finding it easier in a large class to yellow card him and move on - understandably they have a heavy workload with that many kids in a class.)
OK can we please put this myth to bed. Meds don't turn your kids into robots or zombies. They are like any other medication If your kiddo is on meds for his/her ADHD and they have zoned out or act like a zombie. THEY DON'T HAVE THE CORRECT DOSAGE or they need to be on a different medication.

It is hit and miss sometimes you find the right dosage and even when you do it may work for a while and then... oops, things like puberty sinks in and hormones change and the meds that worked for a while don't anymore.

While i understand you meant no harm by your comment i just wish people would stop thinking this way as it put a preconceived notion in some peoples heads and may keep them from using certain medicines that might otherwise help their kiddos.

Thanks. Rant over.
 
#16
You are describing my oldest now a senior in HS. I feel your pain and don't really have much more to offer that's not already been said, except maybe this ---- pick your battles. Is it really so bad for a bored (your posts make that obvious) 1st grader to get some yellows? A week with no red in 1st grade was cause for celebration at my house. Another consideration -- I've read (and been told by a pediatrician & several teachers) that when kids are super intelligent, they are lacking in another area -- usually maturity or social skills. Especially boys. It was social skills for mine. It has leveled out quite a bit, but he still has little patience things that are less than accurate (the news media drives him nuts with their over simplified, often misconstrued "facts" ).

Try not to get caught up in the "no child of mine will (fill in the blank here) " craziness --- all kids do exactly the things we swear our kids won't ever do. I think it's karma. Mine is also very strong willed and marches to his own drummer. It's been frustrating, but it comes with the parenting a very smart child. I've always said he was "too smart for his own good" -- when they are that intelligent, they see through the "positive reinforcements" too. They understand the "game" and many of them (mine included) refuse to play.

I hope this makes sense. I wish you lots of patience and good luck. You are not alone!
 

angelaN

Platinum Member
#17
I have seen bright kids who are bored and check out or misbehave but just as often I see lazy parents who blame their child's bad behavior on the teacher not challenging or engaging them.

I am pretty sure that Razorback's child is the former as she appears to be a very involved and caring parent. However teachers see it all.

I know my oldest was never adequately engaged in FISD. I can't say it is the schools' fault but I am seeing a good chunk of the GT kids flounder once they graduate or skate through highschool with mediocre grades and bad attitude.